Neal relinquishes his lead

Nice weather for ducks: Matt Neal tackles a wet Rockingham track. Picture: DARREN PRICE.

Nice weather for ducks: Matt Neal tackles a wet Rockingham track. Picture: DARREN PRICE.

First published in Sport

DROITWICH racer Matt Neal lost his lead at the top of the British Touring Car Championship standings at Rockingham.

Neal, who broke his hand in a motorcycle accident prior to the meet, battled he way through treacherous conditions to claim two second places and a sixth at the Northamptonshire circuit.

But his Honda Yuasa Racing team-mate Gordon Shedden took a brace of wins to move three points ahead of Neal with six rounds remaining Jason Plato, who sits third in the standings had taken pole position with a new qualifying lap record on Saturday in his MG KX Momentum Racing MG6.

He duly went on to dominate the opening race, held in dry conditions, and set a new race lap record en route. Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan and Shedden were second and third in their Honda Civics.

But then conditions changed dramatically as heavy rain settled in for the rest of the day, enabling Shedden and Neal to take a pair of first and second place finishes in the final two races.

Plato finished behind them on each occasion in third and was involved in a thrilling battle with Neal during the final race.

Reigning champion Neal said: “I’m just pleased to get through the weekend.

“Gordon was unstoppable in those conditions but a pair of seconds and a sixth are probably better than I thought was possible. “We were expecting Silverstone to be tough but this really helps thinking ahead to Brands Hatch.”

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